Workers’ Compensation – Permanent Total Disability (2016)
Slip and fall, or trip and fall, injuries impact all different types of workers in all variety of jobs. Typical causes include faulty or inadequate lighting; cracked or uneven sidewalks, pavement, or flooring; ice, snow and slippery conditions, and trip hazards such as discarded tools or materials.
Our client, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, injured his back at work when he slipped and fell in a freezer. After litigation, the Workers’ Compensation Law Judge found that he had a permanent disability and an 80% loss of wage earning capacity. We appealed, arguing that he was “industrially totally disabled” – unable to do any sort of work because of a combination of his injuries and his age, education, work background, and literacy. The Workers’ Compensation Board upheld the judge’s decision, and refused to consider the issue of industrial total disability.
We appealed the Board’s decision and the Appellate Division, Third Department, reversed the Board, returning the case to it with instructions to consider the claim we had raised. The case was later settled on favorable terms.